92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
Emergency Response: Thunderstorm Hazards Responses, Emergency Activities, and Threats
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Paul J. Croft, Kean University, Union, NJ; and L. Kusik

In New Jersey, outdoor summer activities lead to a high volume of traffic at the Jersey Shore and it is apparent that beach and roadway activity respond to both the weather conditions and to forecasts of the same. These responses depend upon traffic volume, rain-soaked roadways; localize flash flooding, and other hazards. The responses of individuals, and collective groups of people and emergency responders, adds a societal dimension that is not well understood and which is quite dynamic and likely non-linear. Although routine forecasts and nowcasts are readily available to the public and others through many media modes, it is unclear how well-received they are and how effective they are in eliciting public response or consideration of risks and threats – particularly in or near beach recreational areas – or by emergency managers and personnel. Archived daily weather observations and severe storm reports were examined to consider the impact of significant weather conditions on beach traffic, accidents, and related incidents as a measure of the potential economic and emergency response impacts of “bad weather” during this time of year. These allow both an examination of potential impacts to people and economies in shore communities as well as insight to the impact of severe weather conditions from a risk management perspective. Local and state economic and traffic data as well as emergency response and police reports and statistics were obtained for a sample five year period to determine and establish relationships between shore activity and the consequences of local severe storms. These were used to develop a preliminary model of both impact and risk in order to provide emergency managers with a better understanding of the populations involved in short term hazards posed by severe thunderstorms.

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